Smoking Ban In Italy ...

Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2005 07:34 am
Bars decry new Italian smoking ban

By Robin Pomeroy

ROME (Reuters) - Bar and restaurant owners are refusing to police a smoking ban when it takes effect on Monday in Italy, a country where breaking the rules is often considered a right.

The ban -- delayed for a few days so revellers could enjoy their last ever New Year celebrations in smoky bars -- aims to end passive smoking and deter those who choose to pursue a habit which kills 90,000 people in Italy every year.

"Those who want to smoke can do it in the street or at home but not right next to people who can't stand it and who cannot tolerate being poisoned," said the author of the new law, Health Minister Girolamo Sirchia.

"The majority of the population is tired of being poisoned by the smoke in the air where they work or where they play ... the majority, three quarters of Italians, is with us."

The law relies on bar and restaurant owners -- the vast majority of whom have not built special, closed off smoking rooms -- to ensure their customers do not smoke, with the threat of a fine of up to 2,000 euros if they do not.

But restaurant and bar owners say they refuse to be the state's sheriffs and will not call the police if their customers light up.

They risk being caught out by undercover police who are planning crackdowns in the early hours of Monday in some cities.


"This is a real witch hunt, where the witch isn't the cigarette but is the restaurateur," said Edi Sommariva, head of the trade body FIPE which represents 240,000 bars, restaurants and nightclubs across Italy.

The smokers' backlash already has started. A group called the Association of Courteous and Tolerant Smokers is gathering support for a petition against the law.

In Naples, famous among Italians for its anarchic spirit, a cinema let viewers in for free to a showing of the Mexican film "Nicotina", as long as they could produce a packet of cigarettes that they intended to smoke during the show.

Although smokers are in the minority -- 18 million out of a total population of 58 million -- many Italians are sceptical of a prohibitionism which they feel smacks of American or northern European Puritanism.

Defence Minister Antonio Martino is used to lighting a cigarette in cabinet meetings in front of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi whom he describes as a "tolerant non-smoker".

"After Nazism and Fascism it was Communism that fell. The concept where the state could control everything seemed to have suffered a resounding, definitive defeat, but no. Defeated on the economic front, the enemies of liberty are looking for victories in other areas," said the minister, a founding member of Berlusconi's ruling Forza Italia party.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,396 • Replies: 11
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swallowed by the cracks
Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2005 07:50 am
About bloody time!
0 Replies
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:08 pm
I'm a non-smoker who is for the ban, mostly, but I can feel their pain.
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Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:15 pm
I was very surprised when I read this today. Italy of all places. I remember when I had traveled there and smoking seemed just so much a part of their life. It seemed everyone would light up after having a leasurely dinner.

Personally, I think it is all for the better.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:23 pm
Personally, I think these smoking bans suck, and the people who created them should all go straight to hell for being such obnoxious, persnickety weasel-f*cks.
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Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:31 pm
hmm.. need a smoke there Kicky?
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Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:48 pm
Well, I thought Ireland stopping was amazing...but Italy, naah, that'll never happen!
I can't even imagine it.
Thrills me, but like Osso, I feel their pain...and no doubt will inhale their smoke as I stroll along the street!
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swallowed by the cracks
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 08:23 pm
It makes it easier for non smokers not to inhale the pollution.
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Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 08:24 pm
I am also for it, with sympathy. Just in time for Kicky's great adventure!
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swallowed by the cracks
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 08:33 pm
Tell him to bring lots of jumpers. It is freezing here.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 08:42 pm
Kicky> He'll be there in May.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 10:41 am
It's a stiff law, but not as draconian as those in some parts of the USA. It's only logical to divide restaurants in clearly distinguishable smoking and non-smoking zones. I don't know if the law sets a minimum or a maximum for each zone.
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